Lake Powell Fish Report – April 5, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3596.86
Water Temperature: 53-57F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Spring warming restarts this week. The best spring fishing happens as water temperature surpasses the 64 degree mark for the first time. Temperature this morning was 53 degrees so there is a long way to go. The weather forecast is for calm weather during the next two weeks with a bit of wind on the weekends. Lake Powell surface temperature will climb to the 57-60 degree mark by the weekend and maintain that level and higher into the next week. Here is what to expect with warming:
Largemouth bass and crappie are getting ready to spawn. As the water temperature rises this week male bass will move into shallow water and begin excavating nests in rocky areas where water depth is 3-5 feet. In clear water those nest sites will be visible so anglers will be able to see nests and cast to aggressive male bass. It is unusual to have the lake level rising this early in the season but the lake is coming up at least one foot per week. That means nests that are selected this week will be progressively deeper each week making sight fishing more difficult. The best sight fishing events will happen in the next two weeks and then by the last week of April the rising lake will muddy the water and that event will conclude. Smallmouth bass will spawn near the end of the month but that will be when the rising lake allows sand and sediment to slough off the shore line ending visual fishing.
This warming is the trigger that walleye have been waiting for. They have completed their spawning effort and with warming will focus on finding food. Since shad and other warm water fish have not yet spawned that food will be limited making walleye work all day to find a meal. Hungry fish are easier to catch. Walleye will be an easy target From April 15 to May 30. The secret to catching them is to keep the bait near the bottom and tip your plastic lure or worm harness with live night crawlers. Remember that the tagged walleye contest is still happening. Catch a tagged fish and win a prize if you are a registered contestant. Find more information here:
Striped bass are separated into 4 separate cohorts:
The first group consists of adult schooling fish that are looking for forage in deep water. Competition is intense in the group and forage is limited in the spring making it difficult to maintain a healthy body. These schools stay in cold water where less energy is used while searching for food. These schools are easy targets for bait fishermen that drop bait down 30-60 feet. The catch of stripers at the dam and in the main channel continues to delight many who catch 20 or more stripers every trip to the dam or other deep water congregational spots.
Group 2 contains immature fish and male stripers preparing to spawn for the first time that are holding in shallow open water. These fish are maintaining their body weight by consuming plankton while swimming with their mouths open all day long. Schools are visible in clear water or readily visible on the graph. Most suspended schooling fish seen now are striped bass. They are catchable with small shallow running lures or even flies that can be trolled or dropped to the depths on fast sinking fly line.
Group 3 are mature adults that have found shad all winter long and live in the backs of major murky water canyons where they can be trolled or spooned when a school is graphed. They move often following forage but are normally in the same general area on each trip.
Group 4 are individual fish that are too slow to compete within a school so they have ventured out on their own. These differ from Group 1 in that they head to shallow water to find any food available. These fish are often encountered by bass anglers working the shallow shoreline. These skinny fish should be euthanized when caught to allow only the healthy bass and stripers to eat limited available forage. These fish will not survive the upcoming summer temperatures so they should be eliminated now to prevent them from suffering.
Lake Powell is an amazing fishery with so many different fish to choose from. The best month of spring for catching a wide variety of fish is upon us and will continue through May 2017. It is time to plan that Lake Powell fishing trip and have another great adventure.